tv [untitled] September 9, 2014 4:00am-4:31am PDT
deputies involved in that meeting and the director thank you for putting that together. i believe you have a handle on this. it's something you did not foresee, but it is what it is and i think you're dealing with it pretty well. >> thank you. >> any public comment. seeing none, moving on to item 8.
>> discussion of the mayor's -- is that what we're on? >> yes. >> i just talking about it . i was asked to bring it up. i actually believe we have very good attendance so i don't think -- this letter was not designed necessarily for this particular commission, but i think we need to acknowledge that obviously you will -- there will be times that you will be missing and that you do communicate and it goes down as either a family emergency or vacation or whatever so your attendance needs to reflect that. when commissioners are running late i need to make sure i announce they're here for the record. other than that i don't want to add on anymore. if anybody else wants to add anything else, feel free, but we needed to acknowledge that attendance is very important for these commissions. >> thank you. any public comment on item 8? seeing none, item 9, discussion
on code 38, air ventilation legislation. >> commissioners, dbi, i guess we're back to discuss article 38. it was originally discussed in the code advisory committee and finding or recommendation that's been forwarded to you previously. there was a concern that some of the stakeholders weren't able to attend our meetings and we had some input that would be valuable so we reagendaized it.
we didn't receive any input so it's back before you and for general discussions. maybe we can answer questions. >> okay. >> thank you very much commissioners for the opportunity to be here. my name is karen cone, i'm representing san francisco public health, air quality program and also my colleaguings are here from the planning department of environmental review and dbi's mechanical section should any questions arise. i was first in front of you six months ago and i believe these six months have been well utilized for all of us to deepen our knowledge to each other's needs in managing our businesses of being able to be
build buildings economically. president mccarthy's been very helpful. ful in introducing us to stakeholders. i can't recall the number of meetings i've had since i last met you, but the director had a public advisory meeting that we spoke to. we had two meetings with private developers, we had one additional meeting with mechanical engineers, we had the shared expertise of six engineers from five companies talking about how they approach these needs. i can repeat a little bit, but article 38 is existing health code. it's been around since 2008. because of economic downturn we haven't had that much of a track record of buildings being built. as a result of updating this ordinance to reflect a more -- really more sink nisty between
planning department's requirements and our requirements, we've actually started to operate in that way. everything in this ordinance is already an option for developers to use and project sponsors to use. so from a departmental point of view, this process of amending the code has brought our three agencies into much closer collaboration and it's allowed us to modern size how we approach this and to actually reduce cost for developers. if they choose the options of the new way of doing business it's less cost for them because they don't have to do modeling, there's different fees that get modified and we can speak more specifically to that if you want, but truthfully, making sure that ceqa review and health department are one in
the same will be cost safings for developers. issues that came up, some were for large some were for small developers. we've try to do the research and bring in creative thinking about how to solve peoples' problems. for high-rise developers they're more concerned that doing a supply air system has more energy cost. the research literature doesn't study high-rises yet, it studies, low rise commercial and single family homes. in those situations energy cost increases have been very minimal. that's the literature we're able to see so far. for the smaller developers issues have been about space, access, small lot sizes, lack of where you put ducting, where do you put fan systems. i think there's going to be a
variety of ways that mechanical engineers are going to help meet those needs. we very recently had a new design introduced to us and it will work its way through the approval process and we'll see how it comes out, but n in the past many of these buildings use a z ducting [inaudible] continuous suction through a vacuum stack. we call it a pass through system because nobody flips a switch. as the air comes in it's not filtered and in order to filter it it would require a completely different fan set up. we do have somebody that's created a filter box to be attached to z duct opening. we'll see how that delivers there. so mccarthy asked for an information update about what's happened since so the key thing
is-i don't know if we can see that. are we on? >> yes. >> so you may be aware, tuesday, july 15, we had a news article in the chronicle. that's my colleague showing his z duct air filters and i, you know -- i have them here because i didn't get to bring them to you in february. so basically supervisor cohen has introduced this legislation. it will be assigned to the land use committee some time in september. there's no definite date yet. and she's also introduced the companion clean construction code update, which is strictly for public sector projects. so more or less what joe is holding up -- that's too dark
for this system. these are the filters that he decided to put on ton of top of his z duct openings. they're allergy type things that people use in their homes when they have problems with the delivered air through their heating system. in two month's time after he attaches these this is sort of what it looks like and he just changes them every two months. and this is what it looks like on the inside delivery things. and he lives on a beautiful tree lined block, berry street near the train station and we did a staff retreat at his home and it really encouraging that people can't receive air pollution. it's -- we're not in the most polluted part of the world and we need to think it through. the only days when we do perceive air pollution is spare
the air days, which we've had more of and this is a photo from august 1, which is the day i went on vacation to another part of the country so i do think it's something that we don't need to wait for spare the air days to educate ourselves about using because we want to edge we know that air pollution does contribute to all the five leading causes of death in san francisco, it's physiologically related to heart attacks, heart disease, strokes, copd. we just need to address it and i think it's a change industry wide. i think san francisco clearly will be a leader in the country, but that other cities will come to this same solution and the engineers that spoke with us one of them specifically said that as well.
he sees this as the way buildings will be built in urban areas in the future. so we are learning together. i appreciate very much that these various stakeholders have been willing to meet with us and examine the pros and cons of different designs. our meeting with the engineers was in may. it was may p. 7. if you have any questions related to that, ask myself or any of my colleagues. >> if you -- do any of the other speakers want to speak? no. that's fine, i appreciate that. that's the crux of where i think the debate is for me here. i don't think you find anybody up here in the commission that would disagree with the fact that can in the spirit of what's been trying to be done here is hugely important to people who live in buildings so the problem we keep keeping up
against the wall is how do we implement this within buildings and i know we had some very good conversation and one of the things -- to the planning issue, i think the building community get it, that's good. we can tie it together with ceqa, no problem there. when we get to the dbi part of this and putting them in -- particularly where our concerns are, the smaller buildings, what we're hoping for is a design that might work. you mentioned a couple of ideas in design. i know there was one design that i was excited about that was done in seattle and i think the pushback was it was a title 24 issue and couldn't be implemented here. i never heard -- yeah, yeah, okay. >> yes, code advisory committee discussed this along with people from fire, from smoke control and from life safety and the conclusion was they were concerned that in order to
change the california code it's required by the health and safety code to choose more stringent provisions and it can be less stringent. they have you have to have findings bussed on local geology, topography and climate. so it was basically the stringency on the idea and they asked that the city attorney's office weigh in on it. they agreed it was less stringent so it can't go forward as a code change, although alternate methods are available so they can be posed through that on a case by case basis. even if dbi disagreed with the proposal it would go to the board of examiners for a decision so it could still go
through. >> could you give more detail about why it's less vin jents. . >> corridor air cannot be used for ventilation intake air, all kinds of stuff. and then there's exceptions and the proposal is an exception. >> at the state level? >> local. there are always a few exceptions. it starts out saying ing you can't do it. >> i mean, it seems like the technology is, like, cutting edge so is it likely that the state will respond to that and allow for these alternatives or kwif len says, i guess it would be called. is that an option? >> through the state it's
similar to an option. the state usually doesn't make changes without there being a lot of research behind it and of course a proposal from somewhere and they're not code cycles so a proposal now would be several years before it would even be considered. >> okay, i it. get it. >> i think the concern is, you know, at the city we all seem to get great ideas from other cities and how they handle -- this particular case was the same issue they had in seattle so the engineer that came up with the idea, which kind of vented through the corridors and seemed a very simple solution, they can do it there. and the question is, why can they do it there? they have more ability to amend their title 24 there than they do here? >> yes. >> it is?
so we're -- >> it's a local jurisdiction. we're tied to the -- being more restrictive and also we have certain findings that we have to follow. if we're in earth quake country we can adopt regulations that are stricter regarding r quake safety. ing earthquake safety. >> anything stricter isn't the issue. >> geography and topography are the things that would allow us to make any kind of change and it would have to be more stringent. >> i mean, from your word, if you hear people who are response blg for implementing these policies, the code, we can't do it because of different conditions on job site, but at the same time it passes, how do we live in those
two different worlds? >> if you're talking about seattle, i don't know if they have the same requirements. this is a totally different set of rules and regulations up there, so i can't respond to that but that's the world that we have to follow. >> i attended the meeting where the code advisory members discussed the proposal from seattle and they read both the seattle code excerpts and in effect there was a fire safety professional and a mechanical engineering professional who spoke to it and they were not even sure the seattle code allowed it. it seemed like very small, like, closets and
storage spaces were allowed to share ventilation, but not residential units. mostly what they were concerned about were if somebody burns toast in one unit how does that they didn't see the technical feasibility of it and didn't want to discuss it further, because they thought city attorney needs to weigh in on whether it's tight or not. and all of article 38's provisions are acceptable under our state and local code. this was an exceptional thing we wanted to borrow on if it was feasible. >> yeah, it's the implementation of the party this i still can't -- we -- i've gone round and round and maybe we won't get there so we'll be passing something that i know that in the industry will be extremely difficult to
do, if impossible to do in some buildings. i know you had some great ideas and i mean, i just want to -- been working very hard on it, but has anything changed before we go any further down the road on this or -- >> good morning commissioners. my name is james, i manage the mechanical and energy review section of dbi. so commission's mccarthy's request, we have been looking into the proposal of using the corridor air as outside air to meet the ventilation requirement for the individual drawing units. and we have been actively engaged with fire print check, which is locating with us. and aside from what [inaudible] just mentioned from the code regulations perspective, the concern is that depending on whether or not the building is
a high-rise building and assuming it's a high-rise building then it become a life safety building which requires smoke controls so per the requirement of smoke control, which is regulated by chapter 9, section 909 of the building code, the individual [inaudible] units have designated as passes spoke zone and transfer therefore the corridor separating the negatively ly pressurized corridor, the wall separating the corridor and individual units is a smoke barrier and because it's a smoke barrier it require [inaudible] opening between the wall, between the corridor and the unit requires
the protection of a fire smoke damper. therefore, at the corridor -- the air movement between the corridor and individual unit is not as simple as an opening. in a low rise building it could be different. >> i think that's the focus. the high-rise are doing this anyhow. i get it. the low rise buildings, the smaller buildings, 50 foot height buildings, there is an option that they could take the air from the corridors as an exception, right? >> well, it's different requirement, different level of protections in a high-rise, in
a smoke control building. in the case of a high-rise it's designated as a smoke barrier. in a low rise it could be designated as a fire petition or smoke petition. so there's still -- in other words, protection required in a low rise could be less stringent than that of a high-rise, but still -- there's still a level of protection required, that is why if you -- we just adopt the another approach then it still represents a best level of protection because it's a free, open, communicating opening. >> commissioner walker. . it's title 24 issues it seems like. >> fire code.
>> and are these the same regulations for existing and new buildings, so if you're renovating and putting in residential, and have issues around ventilation it still has the same requirements? >> right. >> addition, alteration, subject to the same requirement. >> your issue, if i may, is that the cost of doing it the way that's allowed is somewhat -- >> you know, your cost -- the implementation and we're going down to smaller implementation is [inaudible] one minute because if that's a separate scenario, but i'm not sure we can put it in the buildings. how do you do it? >> what if you can't? >> the way it stands right now we can't. as far as i'm concerned, as a small builder, we can do it,
but it's going to -- we can do models of -- i didn't want to get into the -- one question, is this a fire variance situation for the low rise buildings? in other words, if you are allowed to -- just call it for the lack of the seattle model, you could get a variance locally at the fire department and at our staff level that would allow us to take the air from the corridors? >> i think the bottom-line is that per the seattle approach you are really mixing two ventilation system together. one is the corridor ventilation and another is the ventilation to the individual dwelling unit. and the fire department and dbi are kind of hesitant to accept that because in the event of a
fire the smoke can travel freely between the corridor and the dwelling unit and by doing that you lose safe access because -- yeah. corridor could be easily tampered by the smoke. it's more difficult to maintain attainable exit in the event of fire so that's where the hesitation comes from. >> mr. walker. >> maybe there's no way to resolve this. i'm not a builder, but one of my main concerns six months ago when it came before us, was not only can we do this, but the cost associated especially for remodels. that 30% of threshold that triggers this to me is not that much. you put in a new foundation,
like, some exclamations here is not that much of a remodel so to me it's a disincentive for small property owners to take on some remodeling they should do. my main concern is for existing units, not for new builds, not for skyscrapers. someone told me you could do anything if you have unlimited money. just kinds of merging there with president mccarthy. yes, anything is possible if you're willing to shell out -- unlimited amount of monies. and people who own two to five unit buildings are not in that position, especially if you're going to remodel something, take out kitchens, redo bathrooms, foundations, that's 30%. it will trigger [inaudible]. >> commissioner mar, right before i came to this meeting i was discussing on -- with my
mechanical team member reviewing a five story 15 unit so that currently is not a high-rise, it's not the bigger size of the apartment, but a smaller one. i think i can be reasonably sure that the cost of that kind of set up is basically placing a filter behind a z box. that kind of solution is nowhere near the 30% that construction cost. having said that, there are some more improvements on that project. >> commissioner mar, there's an attachment that secretary harris has provided as part of this agenda item. in april we providing your commission answers to questions, and the question
you're addressing right now is on page one of that, question three about major alterations in two to five unit buildings. this is the smaller provision you're talking about. i think we answered your question. a major alteration has areas of 25,000 gross square feet is not really the situation you're describing. and there has to be a 30% upgrade, but it's also -- that's the structural part. there also has to be the mep changes so it's a very high bar before you get into this provision. it's not the thing you're stating that all small owners would be prohibited for be demonstrating. i wanted to point out article 38 has applied to buildings of ten units and more. those are small buildings. people have been building these buildings. space limitations are one of
the main concerns. being able to sacrifice roof space for a supplier system. that is one of our major concerns and i understand from our developers point of view. in our meeting with mechanical engineers dbi brought forward system pl plans a z duct become delivered to a storage space above a laundry room where it could be filtered before it was supplied to the living space. i want to maintain that technically speaking the designs are feasible, they've been built and the law's been here since 2008. it is something new that people are learning. it is a change, like i said in february, a change to professional practice. it's harder to get your mechanical contractor to come in without an engineer doing a design. that is obviously an additional cost because of plans an designs, but it's not going to be, perhaps -- it'll be a while
before hvac contractors feel confident in doing these systems. that's the change being scoped, but i'm showing here the viewer is that part of our process we try to show the scale of what properties are at stake here, what's going to be developed? can you show us? >> i did read the answer. i just felt it was -- >> no, the question you posed last time, we definitely researched. we developed the softness values, my planning colleagues in terms of the dark red. i'll show you a blow up south of market. the dark red and light red are the areas that have the most likelihood of being developing and